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“Lock him away in a studio with enough food and a mattress.”
Ever since hustling beats to plenty of noteworthy underground hip-hop acts in the US—Little Brother, Wordsworth and J-Live to name a few—Oddisee has been a household favourite at Beatnik. Today Oddisee is a producer-mc-manager in one, with his hands in plenty of cookie jars: production for a range of artists, conceptual solo projects such as this one or his own group Diamond District. The mouthwatering concept of Traveling Man is that of a travel diary; all twenty four instrumentals were produced in and inspired by a different city that Oddisee visited in the past year.
That stunning concept can only raise expectations on the final product, which is luckily nowhere near disappointing. Whether playing with electronic sounds in ’Melbourne’ or Philly Soul in ’Philly’, the album travels through genres and local histories in a beautiful way. The bombastic disco vibe of ‘Atlanta’ doesn’t sound like Oddisee travelled to the city; it makes it sound like he strapped on giant boots and stampeded through its boulevards. ‘South Central’ wouldn’t be complete without its trademark west coast drum pattern and, to my personal joy, ‘Stockholm’ inspired the producer to make a soft, piano-ridden beat with beautiful strings to round it off.
With a plan to run his own micro-version of Motown, one can only hope Oddisee will have enough time to finish his own debut album too. This video makes me want to lock him away in a studio with enough food and a mattress. Until that comes out, we will have to make do with his other releases, most of which are free, and worth paying for.
words Sven Carlsson